While some people get inked to cover up a nasty scar, experts say you shouldn't get a tattoo over a mole. It's not that they're worried about how it will look or feel, rather how it can potentially mask an area of the skin that needs attention. More cases are surfacing that involve people developing melanoma on moles that are disguised or covered by body art.
Report reveals melanoma prevalence
The journal Dermatology, a part of the Journal American Medical Association, released a report that highlighted the frequency of this issue. More than 16 cases of melanoma were associated with tattoos, when the report was released in July. It is still unknown whether there's a correlation between where people are getting tattoos and how they're developing the skin cancer, however, people are advised to never get a tattoo over a mole or skin lesion.
Additionally, health experts and some tattoo artists urge people to get any moles removed prior to starting laser tattoo removal. In some instances, people are being turned away from both services.
As explained in the report, a 29-year-old white male visited a clinic to have his tattoos removed in 2001. He underwent countless sessions under the laser to get rid of his enormous chest and arm pieces. After about 43 sessions, professionals from the clinic noticed a nevus – chronic lesion – on his shoulder.
The client was then urged to have the lesion removed, however, he refused a number of times until finally the business refused to see him again until he had it removed. He complied and had it excised. From instances like this, researchers concluded that people should not only avoid getting tattooed over moles or skin lesions, but they should have any new growths removed prior to starting laser tattoo removal treatments.
The skin cancer crisis
These warnings should be taken very seriously as skin cancer has been a major problem in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 people were diagnosed with melanoma in 2011 – more than 41,000 men and 29,000 women. It's the most common type of cancer in the country, yet prevention is possible in the majority of cases.
The Skin Cancer Foundation confirmed that more than 90 percent of skin cancer cases are caused by the sun's UV rays, which means the chances of developing the disease are within the individual's control most of the time. To reduce the risk of abnormal growths, skin aging and cancer people should make it a point to stay out of the sun to the best of their abilities.
Awareness is the best tool
If you do have to go outside, try to seek shade, particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its peak. Apply sunscreen generously, even if you don't normally burn. As the Skin Cancer Foundation pointed out, just one burn is enough to increase your odds of a diagnosis.
Take matters into your own hands and examine your skin on a monthly basis to catch any abnormalities – even in places of your skin that are covered with tattoos. Look all over, including feet, hands, underarms and scalp. Keep dermatology appointments at least once a year. If you do find something, it's best to see a doctor immediately. It can be scary to find a new growth on your body, but action is the best route to keep you safe and healthy.
Next time you get inked, be sure to avoid any areas that have moles – even ones that aren't irregular. You should reconsider your tattoo artist if you see someone who's comfortable inking over skin lesions.
Over 45 million US adults* are living with tattoos, but now permanent ink can be a thing of the past. PicoSure® is the world's latest breakthrough technology in laser tattoo removal providing faster results in fewer treatments. Visit www.picosurear.wpengine.com to learn more and find a PicoSure Practitioner near you. * Source: Harris Interactive, 2012